A POLICE operation aimed at clamping down on metal theft has received three national awards.

Operation Alloy was launched three years ago following a huge increase in metal theft across the force.

Since then the thefts have seen a 72 per cent reduction.

The team behind the operation has been awarded "most successful crime reduction initiative" in conjunction with Electricity North West and the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining and "outstanding problem-orientated partnership" for the operation.

John Woods, operations co-ordinator for Operation Alloy, also received an award for his individual contribution to reducing metal theft.

The operation saw six arrests in Bolton last May following a series of raids on scrap yards across the borough.

Police visited J Doyle Ltd in Manchester Road, Chequerbent, P&G Metals in Darbishire Street, Bolton, Chadwicks in Oakenbottom Road, Breightmet, and made a series of arrests. Nobody was arrested at Chadwicks.

Supt Craig Thompson said: “These awards are a testament of the dedication and commitment of the team in reducing metal theft and bringing offenders to justice.

“Our aim when we launched Operation Alloy was to make Greater Manchester a no-go area for metal thieves and we’ve used every tool at our disposal to achieve that.”